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Joan Burton: "Promissory note deal? The EU needs a success story"

Joan Burton also said the main lesson from the economic crisis is that financial markets and wealthy elites should not be allowed to “dictate our future”.

Joan Burton speaking at the seminar this morning
Joan Burton speaking at the seminar this morning
Image: Christopher McKinley

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton has said that a deal on the promissory note agreement with the former Anglo Irish Bank is crucial to the Government’s ongoing negotiations about a debt write-down.

Speaking after a European Movement Ireland seminar this morning,  the Minister said:  “Getting a deal in relation to the promissory note is very, very important as, in fact, is looking at the overall bank package”.

But the promissory note is the key element in the current negotiations. We are pushing very strongly for it and the European Union needs a success story as well.

The Minister added that “[The Government has] the commitment of the June council meeting in relation to breaking the link between bank debt and the sovereign [debt].”

“I think we have a very significant amount of understanding and support in relation to assisting Ireland to recover,” she said.

During her address to a host of international guests the Minister confirmed Ireland’s support for the European Union and its benefits to Ireland.

“Let me reiterate our strong commitment to the Union that is based on our shared values [which also] reflects the benefits of membership we have experienced over the past forty years and which have helped transform Ireland economically, politically and socially,” she said.

Burton also stated that the ‘scandalous’ level of unemployment, particularly the among [our] young people, is the pressing issue facing Europe today.

“That is why I have placed such a priority on the Youth Employment Package, including a youth guarantee” she said.

Under the guarantee any young person under 25 would be guaranteed a job, training or educational place within a set number of months after becoming unemployed.

“This week the EU social protection and employment ministers will gather in Dublin to discuss these issues,” she said.

Burton said she was confident that over the term of the EU presidency a successful outcome for Ireland will be achieved.

“Please remember that Europe is not just about bankers”

The Minister’s speech at the event commemorating Ireland’s 40th anniversary in the EU also discussed Ireland’s European presidency, economic governance & stability and agreement on a Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).

“Ireland’s Presidency focuses on three key elements – stability, jobs and growth,” she said. “Our citizens want to see the EU respond effectively to the crisis and respond to stability and growth.”

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Ms Burton also highlighted how the EU had brought about peace and furthered women’s rights. “The European project ensured our continent moved away from war,” she said.

The Minister urged people not to let current economic conditions cloud their judgment of the EU.

“The current crisis has obscured the fact that the EU has been a force for good,” she said. “Public trust has slipped at national and EU levels. We need to act to restore that trust and to empower EU citizens.”

Burton said that the EU was not just about economies and business. She said that Ireland’s EU Presidency will also place an emphasis on addressing the linkages between hunger, nutrition and climate change.

“Please remember that Europe is not just about bankers,” she said. “Today, in every sense, [the European project] must be about citizens and society.”

“Because if the EU had a failing it was that it allowed the doctrine of market fundamentalism to dominate,” she said.

The salutary lesson is that we cannot allow the financial markets, or the wealthy elites, to dictate our future.

Read: Challenge to promissory notes dismissed, court says TD could bring case >

Read: Noonan still chasing ‘good deal’ in promissory note talks >

About the author:

Christopher McKinley

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